Sunday, February 21, 2010
As I wrote in my post Avatar/Oscar Catch Up , I set a goal to see 7 out of 10 Oscar nominated films before March 7th. I accomplished my goal and added onto it 3 box office type flicks out now! These three (Valentine's Day, Percy Jackson and Shutter Island), I saw in a row, on the same day for $6. Not bad, but as I couldn't work in a Ritz Theater discounted Wednesday or matinee showing, I paid full price for An Education and Up in the Air. In addition, the cost to rent Inglorious Basterd and A Serious Man was $5 each, being as they were both on Netflix's back order list.
Yes, this is a hobby, but for some people this is a job. They always say, act as if, so I've begun keeping all my film & restaurant receipts, with the intention that by the time next tax season rolls around, I'll be able to declare each and every one!
An Education- (Director Lone Scherfig) You know that I loved this film! I sat there grinning ear to ear, thinking how much I still would love to have a sneaking around, high class affair with a man of means. Someone worldly who enjoys the finer things in life. Yes, of course, the ending tarnished the fantasy for me a bit, but on the whole this film was made for me. I think it ranks 1st place among my other two favorite Nick Hornby penned movies, About A Boy and High Fidelity. You can't help but also love British actress Carey Mulligan, who for me was a combination of all the ingenues I've loved over the years: Leslie Caron, Sally Fields, Audrey Tatou, Amber Tamblyn, Alexis Bledel and of course, Audrey Hepburn.
Rating: 4 tines (* Excellent - 4 Tines * Great - 3 Tines * Good - 2 Tines * Fair - 1 Tine * Poor - Tarnished
Up In The Air (Director Jason Reitman) I love this old 1965 film called Boeing Boeing, starring Tony Curtis (Stoney for any Flintstone fans) Curtis plays this Lothario with a penchant for stewardesses (way before the PC term flight attendants). Juggling their comings and goings and avoiding any "connecting flights" is his full-time occupation with the assistance of Jerry Lewis. From the trailer, I thought Up in the Air had a similar tone. I was completely wrong.
Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) is yes, attractive and doesn't have trouble with approaching women, but he's not a ladies man. He's a man with a need to defend the life he's created on the road; enjoying every travel rewards program, gold member status and looking to be frequent flyer royalty. His ability to be both engaging and aloof, serves him well in his capacity as anonymous corporate terminator. It also seems biographical to Clooney's nature. Vera Farmiga is perfectly cast, as Clooney's love interest, but her character's twist may be a little too misleading. Rating: 3 tines
Inglorious Basterds One thing Quentin Tarrantino has down to a science is the ability to lighten gruesomeness. I squirmed when Pitt's character stuck his finger in the bullet hole of a woman's leg to make her talk, and scalping is never an easy thing to behold, not to mention the death toll in general. But on the whole, where I normally don't like so much graphic violence, I'm always along for the ride with Tarrantino. And it really is a good tale, if you can consider any story of war and Holocaust a good tale. Rating: 3 Tines
A Serious Man (Directors Ethan & Joel Cohen) I've already forgotten what happened in this film, it's slow, even slower pace than Fargo. I realize, the tempo is set deliberately, but I was rather bored with Larry Gopniks (Michael Stuhlbarg) search for meaning in his suburban, middle class, dweeby existence. It could have worked, in someways it reminded by of the show Picket Fences, only the off-beat humor and towns people in A Serious Man, didn't quite hit that off kilter meter.
Actually, I found the behind the scene bonus features on the DVD more interesting than the film itself. It's fascinating to see the short hand and true love of filmmaking the Cohen's brother's share. The late 60's set decorations and props are perfection. I always love seeing a team of dedicated artists talk about what they do to make all the magic happen. Rating: 2 Tines
On a side note to another Oscar nominated film, Precious (already reviewed by T&T in October http://www.tinseltine.com/2009/10/commentary-precious.html) My friend, Ellen told me she was having a discussion with a neighbor about Precious and this person said they felt the film was patronizing. She in turn asked me if I thought so too?
My response: I know the definition of the word "patronizing", but to put it in my own words - it's when someone feels superior in some manner and gives due or agrees with someone else, for that other person's benefit, but not because they really feel it.
Since the film "Precious" is based on a novel written by someone who really lived this life, I don't see how the film could be patronizing; how is it different from any other person's biography turned into a movie? If it was written and created by someone whose life was nothing like Precious, and they felt they wanted to make a movie about a young, overweight, black, abused girl, in order to shine a light on a topic, then that could possibly be construed as patronizing.
Readers, I'd love to know your opinion on this topic!
Now onto my Box Office Day of Three:
Valentine's Day ( Director Garry Marshall) I make no apologies to the fact that I've seen Pretty Woman a minimum of 15 times in my life, maybe not from beginning to end, but if it's on, I've gotta watch some of it and I get a hankering for it if I haven't seen it for a while. I can't imagine my future channel surfing will have me coming in for a landing on Valentine's Day. In fact, the best part of the movie is a bit with Julia Robert's when a chauffeur asks her if she's ever shopped on Rodeo drive, paying homage to the classic.
My dislike of this movie is not due to the all-star cast or too many storylines, I really enjoyed He's Just Not That Into You and Love Actually. And to it's credit, Valentine's Day isn't glaringly horrible (not in comparison to the day it's based upon). Actually, it's kinda like the way Jessica Alba's character felt about Ashton Kutcher's, interested, but not good enough to be engaged.
Rating: 2 tines
Percy Jackson & The Olympian's: The Lightening Thief (Director Christopher Columbus) is trying too hard to be Harry Potter and failing miserably, very predictable and trite. I know it's trite of me to compare it to Harry Potter, but there you have it. I also didn't like any of the young actors/actresses, they were annoyingly white bread even Brandon T. Jackson. Best part, Uma Thurman as Medusa and the CGI depiction of Hades. Too bad Melina Kanakaredes has such a tiny little part, she really does make for a perfect Athena. Rating: 1 Tine
Shutter Island (Director Martin Scorsese) even though these are just mini-personal film reviews, writing one for Shutter Island is difficult without giving away too much. Going into the film you think you know the basic plot - that two detectives (Leo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo) come to this correctional facility/mental hospital on an island to figure out how one of the inmates escaped. Then in the process, they uncover ghostly secrets and conspiracies, which prevent them from being able to leave the island. That's what you think...
I'm sure that cineophiles will find wonder and genius in Scorsese direction as always, I'm not agreeing or disagreeing on the point, however, I would give most credit to the screenwriter Laeta Kalogridis and novelist Dennis Lehane Rating: 3 Tines